Losing it and each other in Mount Cook

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
White Horse Hill

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Sunday, November 7, 2010

We woke up still reeling from the night before so much information to digest and contemplate. It had been a freezing night and there was a light dusting of frost on the fields but the sun was out so it was disappearing more quickly than it had arrived.  We got on the road without breakfast as we had heard that the campsite at Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand and Australasia standing at a very imposing 3755 metres, was the place to sit and enjoy cooking up breakfast.  We drove the 50 odd Kilometres up the Western banks of the impossibly blue Lake Pukaki again and up in to the tiny Mount Cook village and visited the i-site to enquire about good walks and the weather over the next few days.  We found the large and lovely camp site that is located right at the foot of the mountains and cooked bacon and egg butties as we watched avalanches cascade down the 'Footstool'.  It was an awesome sight and the sound that it created echoed around the camp site sending shivers down our spines and served as a reminder of how treacherous this area can be (it has claimed 200 victims in total).

We got changed and decided to do one of the walks from the campsite, through the Hooker Valley to the Hooker glacier terminal lake.  It was an easy walk in glorious sunshine with spectacular scenery all around we also kept hearing the ominous rumblings of avalanches in the distance.  It took about 2 hours to reach the lake as we had taken so many photographs en route.  The lake was a milky grey colour and was scattered with small icebergs, the glacier was strewn with rock debris but the views of Mount Cook along the way made it worth the walk.  We sat for a while skimming stones on the water, well Andrew did I failed at this task just not being able to get the hang of it, my stones just sploshed in whereas Andrew was managing up to 12 jumps which brought him congratulating cheers (which he loved) from the excitable Japanese tourists that were sat near us but back to them later.  As I took more photographs Andrew wandered off ahead (as usual) so when I had put away the camera he was nowhere to be seen so I guessed that he had either got the hump over something or just got tired of waiting and bogged off.

I carried on walking at quite a quick pace to try to catch him up, looking behind me all the time to see if he was messing around and following me covertly, but he never came in to sight which I thought was a bit odd but nevertheless the path undulated quite a bit so I guessed that he was still ahead and wanted a breather from me having spent the last two hundred and odd days solid together, what annoyed me though was that he had taken the water and I was really, really thirsty.  I got back to the van in a bit of a mood, why the hell had he gone off – he must be asleep in the back of the van (he had the key).  My mood turned to blind panic when I got back and he wasn’t there – oh my god!  Where was he?  What had happened to him?  I started asking everyone around if they had seen a freckly, bearded wizard and the general consensus was no.  My panic was escalating so I started to back track and see if somehow he was behind me.  I asked everyone that I passed including the over enthusiastic Japanese women who had taken a shine to Andrew earlier, maybe he was giving them stone skimming lessons (Andrew Edit - they did surround me clapping when I was skimming earlier)?  Then I saw him coming towards me over the hill and I do admit I burst in to tears in relief (maybe a little over dramatic) but of all the days to lose your fiancée on your 12 year anniversary is not a great day to do it.

Apparently he had been resting on a rock by the lake with his eyes closed after he’d walked off and I must have walked straight passed him.  I did joke that he must have morphed in to the rock for me not to have seen him but he assures me that this is what happened and I hadn’t given him the water but left it at the side of the lake. Absolute shambles.  Reunited we then drove to the Tasman Glacier, the largest glacier in New Zealand at 30 kilometres long, thousands of years ago it gouged out Lake Pukaki but now the lake at its foot is the fastest growing lake in the world as the glacier retreats.  Anyway the walk to the lake took about an hour and by the time we got back to the Gimp we were ready for tea so we got back to the camp site and made had pasta with Bolognese again (yesterdays leftovers) and got chatting to the couple in the van beside us from the Czech Republic who were celebrating their 12 month travelling anniversary with a bottle of champagne (flashpackers).  We decamped to the kitchen along with a French guy and a box of wine and spent a great evening laughing and chatting away by torch light (supplied by our French companion).  We aren’t sure what time we got to bed but we had managed to find the Gimp in the dark which was a feat in itself.

Andrew Edit - Rorie you were right this is a fantastic camp site with a great walk, gorgeous view of the sun setting on mount cook, we just sat drinking watching the regular avalanches whilst having our tea and wine.
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farknash on

wow. that's a beautiful part of the world - great photographs

mum and dad on

fantastic picture of mount cook with the sun on it. takes us back to february

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